Traditional WASSAILING At Preston
The Heart and Soul ( Inner Transition ) group had decided that they would start facilitating “meaningful events”. So to this end we decided to have a Wassailing ritual at the Preston Community Orchard which had been planted by John Tomblin and friends.
So on Sunday 18th January from 2 – 4pm we planned to hold the Wassail.
Wassailing has been a ceremony celebrated in Britain in Anglo Saxon times and possibly pre 1066 . The old English word wassail means ” be in good health” and this toast was held on 12th night, the 6th January in the Gregorian calendar. But pre Gregorian calendar the date becomes 17th. So holding it on the 18th January we were almost spot on. The “toast” was mulled cider or wine.
I am Maggie Tidball and I was keen to organise this ritual, so I asked Su Lewis, a Weymouth community singing leader to help me with the music for the celebration. Then I asked for volunteers to bring the important mulled drinks, the drums and rattles to make loud noises to frighten evil spirits away, sweet meats ( mince pies, biscuits, cake, Apple juice) for the hungry peasants after they had danced, sung and blessed the apple tree roots with their mulled tipple.
Then we needed to publicise our event to the Preston residents in particular but also the general public. John Tomblin did a magnificent job producing a lovely colourful flyer. It all payed off as the turn out for this happy afternoon was a lively group of revellers – at least 50 to 70 – gathered on the open ground of Telford Close Recreation Ground. There was also an enthusiastic group of dogs bringing happy energy to the venue.
The sun shone, the singers gave us a most wonderful performance, the trees had been cherished so that they would yield future good harvests. We closed the afternoon with a thoughtful blessing given by Carol Lewis, an Interfaith Minister.
I have to thank all the people who helped me to make this such a joyful community event and I give gratitude for their generosity.
So this has encouraged TTWP Inner Transition group to follow with further events to engage with the wider general public and we will keep you informed.